The Torah defines adultery as sexual relations with a betrothed or married woman. Yeshua broadened the scope to include any breach of monogamous fidelity on the basis of the Torah’s words, “a man shall be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). He taught that even impure thoughts can constitute adultery of the heart.
If a creditor pressed the charge in a Gentile court of law, he could have the delinquent debtor thrown into a debtor’s prison where he would remain until his debt was paid down to the last cent. The incarcerated debtors often died in prison. The wise debtor wanted to negotiate a settlement with his creditor before the matter reached such a court.
The Torah says, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), but the Master says that anger, hatred, insult, and public humiliation are tantamount to murder. Two forgotten sayings of Yeshua further illustrate his teaching. He warned His disciples that murder begins with anger in the heart.
Yeshua taught his disciples to expect persecution. He said, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). By saying “theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Yeshua indicated that those who endure persecution for his sake will find entrance into the kingdom.
Yeshua said to his disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Yeshua’s beatitude about peacemakers contradicted the first-century zealot impulse that called for taking up armed resistance against Rome. Several of His disciples embraced the zealot ideal. The beatitude about peacemaking attempted to turn their thoughts away from armed revolution.
Biblical Hebrew uses the word “heart” to refer to the mind, the core from which a human being thinks, reasons, and acts. Why does Yeshua say that the pure in heart will see God? According to the Torah’s laws of ritual purity, only the Levitically pure may enter into the holy Temple where God dwells. Levitical purity is a prerequisite to entering God’s presence.
Yeshua teaches, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Those who are merciful and compassionate towards others are blessed because they will receive mercy and compassion from God. Conversely, one who does not show mercy toward others should not expect to receive mercy from heaven.
Yeshua taught his disciples that those who hunger and thirst now are especially blessed because they will enjoy being satisfied in the Messianic Era. Does this refer to the poor and needy who literally hunger from lack of food and thirst from lack of clean water? Or does it refer to a spiritual hunger and thirst?
Yeshua says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Who are the meek? The Greek text behind this saying implies one who is mild-mannered, gentle, soft, and passive. Why are the passive and meek-hearted destined to possess the earth?
When you lose someone or when your heart is broken and sorrowful, you obviously don't feel happy about it. But Yeshua teaches "happy are those who mourn." In what way should a mourner feel "happy," and when will mourners find this promised consolation?